Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Speed Racer"? Pull it over

Since it's Wednesday, I thought I might just start by pissing off as many as half of the people who bother to read this (and thank you, by the way) by saying this: The Wachowski brothers are hacks.

They came up with one great premise for "The Matrix," then beat it to a bloody death with two soul-sucking sequels. I tell you all that only so you'll know why I just can't get too excited about this project.

As reported here before as rumor, it now seems a reality that the Wachowskis will take the wheel for a live-action "Speedracer" flick. They are writing and will direct the movie, their first since the "Matrix" series ended in 2003 (and has anyone really missed them?)

The flick will apparently follow the adventures of the young race car driver Speed in his quest for glory in his thundering gadget-laden vehicle, Mach 5. The movie will feature other characters from the show, including Speed's family and his archnemesis, Racer X (I could use an archnemisis myself).

Producer Joel Silver promises "Speed Racer" will be family-friendly. Great ... take the kids and teach them to hate movies from an early age.

Scorsese and the Stones

Maybe I'm just too cranky today, but this next one also doesn't seem to have the potential to do much more than suck hard.

Don't get me wrong: I don't just love Martin Scorsese, I adore him. Sure, "Gangs of New York" was simply awful, but "The Aviator" and much moreso "The Departed" proved the old man has a lot more to say. And his recent Bob Dylan doco proved he also still knows a lot about rock 'n' roll.

So why not a Stones documentary by Mr. Scorsese? One simple reason: The Stones are so old that they have become unwatchable. Their halftime "show" at the superbowl was a joke, and every time I see Mick's skeletal frame prancing around stage I just wonder if he's wearing his Depends or not.

For anyone less jaded than me, here's the lowdown: Scorsese started filming the untitled docu Sunday in New York at the Stones' performance at President Clinton's celebrity-packed birthday bash at New York's Beacon Theatre. It will focus on two concerts from the group's current "A Bigger Bang" tour as well as historical and contemporary behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

Somehow I think the biggest bang will come when one of them finally keels over on stage. My money's on Richards.

Joon-ho and Chan-wook Teaming Up

Wow. That's enough bile for today, so here's something that can only be called fun.

South Koreans Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook are teaming up to make "La Transperceneige," to be shot in English. Bong will direct while Park will produce.

Variety says the project is an adaptation of a French-language graphic novel by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette. The story is set on a train that is the last refuge for human civilization on the run from a devastating ice age. The film is expected to boast one of the largest-ever budgets for a Korean movie.

Casting is already under way for the f/x-heavy project, with filming tentatively set for next year. The search for an English-language screenwriter is underway.
All of that sounds great to me ... I'm not familiar with Joon-ho, but after "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," "Oldboy" and others, I'll follow Mr. Chan-wook just about anywhere, especially on a journey that should be just weird and wild.


Anonymous said...

Aw, come on! Bound was a great film. Violet's high heel shoes lined up all menacing. All those shots of drains. They took noir to the next logical step and completed the femme fatale's Electra complex by getting rid of dudes.
Just because Joel Silver strong-armed them into creating more Matrix films (there are rumors of people being dangled off of balconies) doesn't mean the first one wasn't pretty good.
Plus, the screenplay for V for Vendetta was pretty great. They cut through all the Alan Moore crap that other screenwriters couldn't (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell) and turned out another decent flick.
I'm not a huge fan, by any means, but I don't think they've really had the chance to create the films they want to. Really, they've made 2 movies, Bound and The Matrix trilogy. Can we call them a hack like Michael Bay with such a tiny body of work? Who knows? They may surprise you.

Carrie Lofty said...

But the Wachowskis did leave their stank all over V for Vendetta. My review here.

Reel Fanatic said...

You're both right about those great flicks ... I love Bound, and though I'm not sure just how much sway the Wachowskis had over V for Vendetta, but was a great example of how to turn a graphic novel into an entertaining flick

Anonymous said...

V for Vendetta could have been better but could also have been worse. The comic was so good it's tough to match it on film.

That South Korean film you're talking about sounds interesting, never seen any of their movies... Why is Scorsese wasting his time with the Stones, he should make more gangster flicks!

Reel Fanatic said...

I like that Scorsese likes to mix things up, Sebastien, and he proved with The Last Waltz that he's more than a capable rock documentarian .. that said, I'm totally with you on this .. surely, he must have better ways to spend his time

sanchapanzo said...

saw "v for vendetta" lately
just thought the movie is really ordinary :-(

Lori said...

Ugh. I hear ya, Keith. Not only is a 'Speed Racer' flick a bad idea just in general principle...but to give it to the Wachowskis...? That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, either. I tend to think those guys' best movies are BEHIND them. Everything they've churned out since 'The Matrix'---those unbelievably bad sequels and 'V for Vendetta' which was more like D for Didn't Really Work All That Well---if nothing else it demonstrates that their heads are not where they should be as directors. I mean, it'd be great if they could get their sh*t together and do some decent stuff in the future---but I just don't see it happening with 'Speed Racer.'

Reel Fanatic said...

A word of defense of "V for Vendetta," if I could, Lori ... I took the time to read Mr. Moore's graphic novel before seeing it, and I though they and the movie's director (whose name escapes me at the moment) did a great job of bringing it to life

Lori said...

Oh, duh...first off I have to admit my screw-up in not remembering that James McTiegue directed 'V.' Sorry. But don't get me wrong, Keith, I didn't think 'V' was a bad movie...I just found the premise to be MUCH more interesting than the film turned out to be. I was so hyped to rent it when it came out and after I finished watching it, I was like...what the hell happened there? I was so disappointed that I reviewed it just to vent.

Anyway, while the buck ultimately stops with the director, a lot of what I think went wrong with it was in the writing...a lot of sloppy stuff going on there. Now having never read the graphic novel, I can't say if the source material was problematic or the Wachowskis' adaptation was. But personally I just think it really didn't live up to what it could have been.

Reel Fanatic said...

A lot of people had that same reaction, Lori ... Maybe I just went in wanting so much for it to work that that altered how I ultimately viewed it, but it definitely worked for me at the time

Tony Kay said...

Holy crap, you're so on the money about Speed Racer. And we need another watered-down-with-Splenda cinematic bowdlerization of a beloved TV series like we need a collective frontal lobotomy with a rusty butterknife. Will it never end?

I'm inclined to agree about the Wachowskis overall, and to risk a few pieces of over-ripe fruit to the kisser with this statement: The Matrix was a massively overrated fantasy, one kernel of a good idea that represented the science-fiction equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes (right down to the absurd degree of deification allotted it by normally right-thinking fans and critics).

Conversely, all of the apathy and antipathy about V for Vendetta--my pick for one of the most visually, emotionally, AND intellectually satisfying big-budget fantasy films in years--has me stymied. Aside from the slightly-too-showy combat scenes at the end (which sorta do exhibit that Wachow-stink), V stuck with me in a good way long after I left the theater. Maybe it helped that I didn't have the massive yardstick of Moore's graphic novel hovering o'er my head.

Keep up the good provocative work.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm kinda with you on "The Matrix," Tony .. While I think it's a fairly good flick, it certainly doesn't deserve all the acclaim it receives from sci-fi fans

Linda said...

This is Spinal Tap at #2 prompts me to share that I was the driver for Guest and Shearer at our local film festival last summer. Mike McKean received a lifetime achievement award, and his pals came to perform with him and support their friend. Funny, polite, charming and friendly, these guys rock .... even without makeup and wigs!!!

Reel Fanatic said...

Wow .. I'm very jealous, Linda ... Guest and Shearer are two of the funniest guys around, so I would relish any opportunity at all to hang around with them for even a few minutes

Tyler Durden said...

The other day, I chanced upon a documentary on The Discovery Channel which showed portions of the japanese anime series Ghost In The Shell and hinted at how similar they were. I had hopes even after Reloaded (the freeway sequence is probably the present day equivalent of The French Connection), but Revolutions was just plain lame.

I do not agree that the Wachowskis made a good screenplay out of VforV. The comic book, in my opinion, is way too superior when compared to what the Wachowskis work. I perfectly understand why Alan Moore disowned it.

Reel Fanatic said...

We'll just have to disagree on this one, Mr. Durden .. It seems like Mr. Moore, usually with just cause, is always upset with becomes of his work on the big screen

Anonymous said...

What makes Speed Racer is the 'look' which they're leaving out of the live action version. I never actually bonded with this show, but it would be like taking Johnny Quest and changing the look... while keeping the storyline.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm worried that they'll both the look and the storyline, Vermont Neighbor, making for one of the truly execrable movies of all time